VIR: Turner Motorsport prview

Multiple Championships On The Line In Virginia Amesbury, MA, USA - 09/27/2005 - With just one race remaining in the 2005 season, October 7-8 at Virginia International Raceway, the Turner Motorsport BMW squad leads the Team Championship and...

Multiple Championships On The Line In Virginia

Amesbury, MA, USA - 09/27/2005 - With just one race remaining in the 2005 season, October 7-8 at Virginia International Raceway, the Turner Motorsport BMW squad leads the Team Championship and remains one of the top contenders for the Driver's and Manufacturer's Championships in the Grand Am Cup series. Turner Motorsport races the #96 Baker Sox BMW M3 in the GS class with Bill Auberlen and Justin Marks sharing the driving and two BMWs in the ST class with Will Turner and Don Salama in the #95 H&R Springs 330i and Steve Pfeffer and Tim Pappas in the #97 H&R Springs 330i.

GS On the strength of 8 top five finishes this season, the Baker Sox/Turner Motorsport BMW M3 leads the Team Championship over the Multimatic Ford Mustang teams. Team Championship points are awarded based on finishing position. The Turner Motorsport M3 has led 415 laps of the season's 985 total; almost three times more than the next-closest competitor.

With Turner Motorsport contributing five wins this year, BMW leads the Manufacturer's standings in the GS class with a 3 point margin over Ford. The Turner Motorsport M3 has been the only BMW to win races this year in the GS class. Justin Marks and Bill Auberlen have teamed up for each of those wins at Santo Domingo, Watkins Glen, Trois-Rivieres, Mid Ohio, and Phoenix.

Justin Marks continues to close the gap to first place in the overall GS Driver's standings. He trails David Empringham by only 15 points. Since the Watkins Glen round in June, Marks has scored 200 points compared to 182 for Empringham in that same stretch.

Bill Auberlen has been in the driver's seat for each of the M3's five wins in 2005. Despite missing the Mosport round in June for a trip to Le Mans, Auberlen holds fourth place in the overall championship standings (-43 from first). Though the ace BMW pilot is out of the running for a Driver's championship, Auberlen's contribution has played a major role with his co-driver's stab at the Driver's title and in the overall success of the Turner Motorsport BMW program.

ST The race for the ST class Driver's Championship is just as tight as in GS. Will Turner and Don Salama share third place overall with a 16 point margin to first place. Turner and Salama have taken the #95 H&R Springs/Borla Exhaust BMW 330i to four podium and eight top ten finishes in 2005.

Drivers of the #97 H&R Springs BMW 330i are Steve Pfeffer and Tim Pappas. Pfeffer has not missed a race all season long and his strong finishes in the last three races have brought him to fifth in the overall standings. Tim Pappas missed the Mid Ohio round of the series but that has still left him in the eighth position overall.

The BMW 330i hasn't fared as well in 2005 as the Mazda RX-8. In a reversal of last year's ST championship, the RX-8 has finished at or near the top in each race while the BMWs have trailed slightly behind. In a striking comparison, the BMW has not won a race all season long whereas the RX-8 has five wins to its credit. Last year, the #95 Turner Motorsport 330i led the Championship going into the last round in California only to be a victim in a late-race accident. With a maximum of 35 points to be won at Virginia Raceway, BMW still has a mathematical chance at winning the Manufacturer's title.

The final 2005 race will be October 7-8 at Virginia International Raceway. The SPEED Channel will be on hand to record the race for broadcast on November 13 at 3:00pm.

Last year at the VIR race, Turner Motorsport put the #97 330i on the podium with the #95 scoring a sixth place finish (the GS M3 was not raced in 2004). In addition, Turner Motorsport BMWs have been successful in previous races at VIR with the SCCA World Challenge series. The data from the team's experience will prove valuable as Turner Motorsport can hit the ground running in the chase for multiple championships.

-tms-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , David Empringham , Justin Marks , Tim Pappas , Steve Pfeffer , Will Turner , Don Salama
Teams Turner Motorsport